This past July, a Vocational Training Team (VTT) went to Tanzania to aid in the education of teachers and to provide necessary resources to schools. Amazing success!
Headed by team leader Clinton Beckford, the incredible team members, all primary or secondary school teachers, included Danielle Piche, Kristin Schram, Jennifer Gardiner and Fatima Fakih. Workshops were conducted to introduce a handful of teachers new strategies and different ways of approaching math. After having completed these workshops, the goal was to then have these graduates go on to instruct the rest of the teachers, bringing their new-found knowledge to their respective schools. An Interpreter, Abigail, attended every workshop, as some of the teachers didn’t understand English. Abigail interpreted to the language of Kiswahili, and was incredibly helpful – she was considered like a 6th member of the team.
The workshops were held at the newly constructed Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) Centennial Learning Centre. Some topics included how teachers can use local resources to teach math (for example, with beads and string for counters, or using art to teach pattern blocks). Using fun games as teaching methods was a newer approach for many attending these workshops, as opposed to the traditional methods of rote memorization. A key concept that was brought to the teachers is that here, we often teach with games. Children have so much fun, they don’t even realize they’re learning mathematics! At the end of each session, teachers and the VTT team had mid-day tea, talked about education in Canada and had fun exchanging ideas.
In total, 27 primary school math teachers from 6 different schools, 75 student teachers and 15 lecturers in the Hai District in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania were involved in the program, and the response was fantastic. Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic and positive, spoke about how much they learned and how they are excited to put everything they’ve gained into practice. VTT member Danielle set up a blog, so the team is still able to post resources for the teachers in Tanzania.
We were also able to provide in excess of $10,000 in learning resources to the schools from the VTT Global grant. In addition, we made a donation of 3 laptop computers and a data projector to the Legacy Learning Centre, which is a place where local students from the community can go to do their homework and to study after school. One future project is to raise funds to help improve the kitchen of the Elerai Primary School, as it’s very basic.
Huge thank-you to our local partners, Hai Rotary Club and SASCO, to the VTT team members and to everyone who were involved in helping to make this mission successful.